A centre for change

One of the biggest concerns that arise when discussing the merits of artificial intelligence is whether machines will ever have the intuition to compete with humans. But if we look past the question of competition, we would realize that the combination of human intelligence and AI is faster and better than either one alone. In the context of marketing, for example, AI is already mining human data to generate learnings that will build more valuable customer experiences.

Havas is doing just that with Arcadia and the Innovation Center in Montréal—the first truly shared service in the network. More specifically, Havas is using artificial intelligence to understand the relationship between what customers do and how they actually behave. Simply, and surprisingly put, it captures sentiment. Crucial information that will guide strategies and fuel creativity for agencies in the Havas network, including companies in the Vivendi family.

Data-driven empathy to supercharge creative ideas

Since today’s customers want valuable, authentic and meaningful brand experiences, the key is to build a system of engagement that optimizes every touch point, hands off to the best next engagement and learns more about the customer every step of the way.

“What makes the Innovation Center unique is that we are applying AI capabilities to the customer experience (CX). Our approach will enable agencies to test data and observations about local markets and then use those insights to prove—and improve—the relevancy of strategies and creative ideas for the brands we work with,” explains Pierre-Benoît Lemieux, Vice President, Customer Experience, Havas Montréal.

Concretely, the research results generated by AI are transformed into guiding design principles that orient the structure and development of transactional websites, CRM touchpoints, digital campaigns and interactive agents like chatbots. With the added bonus that insights generated by artificial intelligence will continue to be relevant in the coming years, even if no one can predict how projects will evolve.

“To ensure that we remain future forward, the Innovation Center has been specifically organized around four pillars: customer experience, artificial intelligence, augmented reality and ecommerce/emarketing,” comments Jan-Nicolas Vanderveken, President and CEO, Havas Montréal. “In this way, we can continue to be responsive to changes in technology, knowing that research findings about human behaviour will always speak for itself. We are officially open for business.”

Leverage the strength of our collective talent

As founding partners of the new Innovation Center, BETC and Havas New York will provide the support needed to ensure the success of this new endeavor. This evolution was a natural one. Havas Montréal has long been collaborating with its French counterpart, with regular visits on both sides of the Atlantic, and enjoys a strong relationship with New York, which is a pioneer in applied AI.

“The centre is an extension of existing AI capabilities critical to our business. It will allow us to scale capabilities to meet client needs by leveraging a critical mass of talent, including both creatives and technologists,” adds Paul Marobella, Chairman & CEO, Havas Creative, North America.

Why Montreal and why now

Montréal is a nerve center for innovation and a hotbed of rich talent, making it the ideal ecosystem for the development of AI-based solutions for brands. Also, Havas Montréal’s European sensibilities and capacity to serve clients in both English and French translates into greater opportunities across North America and Europe.

“This decision gives us a unique, unparalleled position in the marketplace. It enables us to leverage our talents, while at the same time, provide new technologies and solutions that enhance our clients’ brand and CX performance,” comments Yannick Bolloré, CEO Havas Group and Chairman of Vivendi.

While the Innovation Center definitely strengthens Havas’ leadership position in customer experience and artificial intelligence, it also foreshadows the creation of other hubs around the world to further position the Havas Group as an industry leader.

Article originally published in Download.


Adriana Palanca
Adriana Palanca
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